Can you learn the martial arts from a video?
That depends on your definition of *learn*.
We live in an age of free media, and in the martial arts, a large amount of high quality video and instruction from any martial arts masters.
Why not learn from these video?
There are a few considerations to navigate learning from video.
The first is the nature of the martial arts themselves. Regardless of school, style, and tradition, the transmission of the martial arts is physical. One needs to be directly instructed not only for corrections in movement, but also in having the techniques done to you, so you can experience distance, timing, rhythm, and balance first hand.
In the Japanese martial arts this is called isshi soden- one to one transmission.
Learning from video exclusively means nobody to correct your mistakes, mistakes that can lead to deadly habits in application, and it means you are missing a key component of the arts- one to one.
But what if that is all one can do?
What if the art one would like to study, or where one finds themselves in life right now, video is the only way?
Would martial arts require a change in schedule or sacrifice?
What about seminars and workshops if one can’t attend class weekly?
Start where you can.
What if one is already training in the arts, what about video?
In that case, if one has a base in the arts, a foundation in movement, watching videos as a way to see the expression of a master is a valuable training tool- using it where you are in the training.
But never, ideally, at the expense of live instruction.